The time has come. You’ve decided to start an E-Commerce business. You’ve set up your website, signed up with a marketplace, or moved onto a shop platform. You have figured out where your products are coming from and how to get your orders picked, packed, and shipped. You’ve got high-quality images, engaging descriptions and a payment gateway all sorted out. But one thing’s missing - your customers. It’s one thing to open up a brick-and-mortar store - even if you don’t do a single bit of advertising or promotion, there’s still some foot traffic and visibility. But online? How do you tell people what you’re all about? How do you make sales?
Online, you’ve got the potential to reach more people than you theoretically could with a physical store. But in this case, it’s not a “build it and they will come”- type of scenario. You need the traffic to your E-Commerce store, and the best way to achieve that is to start reaching out to potential customers to promote your products and store. The goal as an E-Commerce entrepreneur is to not only find new customers, but retain them, grow with them, and rely on them to promote your business. Social media is the best way to do this.
Social Media Isn’t For Selling
On a global average, a person spends over 2 hours on social media a day. In Southeast Asia, consumers are especially active on social media, with the Philippines leading the pack, having among the most active social media user base in the world at 8hrs per day, while the average across the Asia Pacific sits around 10hrs. Social media is a great connector and a significant driver of traffic to websites. People can engage with family, friends, get the news, and even engage with the brands and public figures they love. Social media can serve as the marketing tool with the most reach and penetration into a customer's life, with not a lot of investment on your part. It’s where your audience wants to be.
Instead of physical communities, people all over the world, including the Asia Pacific are building online communities. In fact, there are over 800M+ people in Asia Pacific who are part of over 35M active groups on Facebook, for example. Over 89% of those members are open to brands participating in their online communities. But there’s a catch.
Social media users don’t like being sold to.
How you use social media to promote your business is like walking a tightrope. When your message and visuals resonate with your audience, and you’re engaging them, then you can barely keep your stock on your digital shelves. But if you come across too sales-y, and spam their feeds with advertising, rather than engaging content, or seem unauthentic, then they won’t be hitting the “buy now” button, but the “unfollow” button.
It takes balance and there are some key concepts you need to follow.
Social Media is For Connecting
1) Create a Conversation About Your Products
What you’re supposed to be doing on social media is right there in the name - be social. People don’t have an issue with seeing brands they love on their feeds, because clearly, they’ve followed that brand or a similar one. They just don’t want that marketing influence. Hence, to build your brand, you need to create a conversation around your products and demonstrate them in action.
Relevant and interesting content for your fans and followers is about catching their attention and making content that is personalized and unique to your E-Commerce store. This means you should share photos of your products, of your team engaging with them, or just being themselves. You can even share user-generated content, the features of your brand.
Photos that are candid, rather than staged, that look authentic, make you feel reachable, and allows a consumer to feel close to your business. Showing your real self demonstrates credibility and trustworthiness - which leads to devoted customers. This goes for both organic content and paid social media ads.
2) Personalize Your Customer Service
Social media isn’t a one-way flow of information - it’s a dialogue. This is the best place to offer outstanding customer service. In fact, 87% of consumers say that social media helps them in their buying decisions. But it’s not just that they see something on the platform that makes them want to buy, it’s that the brands are talking back to them. They’re making it personal.
Nearly 59% of American consumers have found that it’s considerably easier to get support from a company through social media. This means that the job isn’t done once you hit the post. You need to reply to messages, answer questions, and monitor your comments and comment back as quickly as possible, or at least within a reasonable amount of time.. This personalized service starts the conversation, that hopefully ends with a sale. The best magnets for new customers are current customers. But you need to wow them first.
3) Make Your Products “Shoppable” Via Social Media
According to FacebookIQ, 80% of consumers in the Asia Pacific are interested in new ways of shopping, outside of the traditional E-Commerce platforms. This means taking your products into your social channels and using them as a platform to sell.
We know that you’ve already got your E-Commerce shop, whether it’s your own dot.com site, or you’re on Amazon, Shopify, Lazada or Shopee. But you can also sell your products directly via Facebook and Instagram. These platforms offer a customizable way to showcase your collection of products and offer integrations like Shopify-Instagram so buyers can easily purchase your products that they’ve discovered on social media. Shopify not only connects with Instagram for seamless one-click checkout, it is also readily integrated with LOCAD for seamless fulfillment of your customer orders.
Keep in mind that there is a lot of support and enthusiasm for entrepreneurs in the Asia Pacific, and social media users, 93% of them to be exact, actively support local entrepreneurs, and 57% have actively discovered a business via social media. And that number will only continue to grow. Hence, investing in an Instagram and Facebook store is a wise choice.
4) Explore Live Shopping
According to Facebook, 25% of consumers in the Asia Pacific have tried Live Shopping in the past year, but 85% expect to try it in 2021. In 2019, it generated $60 billion in global sales and is predicted to hit $242 billion this year, with most of that attention and spend coming from China. So what is it? It’s the latest commerce trend that combines social media, technology, and the quaint nostalgia of the at-home TV shopping networks and infomercials we grew up with. Before the internet really took hold of the buying-from-home retail market.
In a nutshell, live shopping resembles in-person shopping but is done via an app or website. Buyers can watch hosts in real-time tryout products and then comment, allowing a brand to get feedback immediately. Sometimes it’s just a model or a host doing the show, other times, a famous influencer such as China’s Viya, can host and generate billions of dollars in one night (on China’s Singles Day she brought in more than 3 billion yuan single-handedly).
While not just anyone can reach these numbers, Live Shopping can work for your E-Commerce store across Instagram, Facebook, and specific apps and sites such as TalkShopLive, ShopShops, NTWRK, Google’s Shoploop, and even Twitch. Especially in times like these, the added edge of Live Shopping can go a long way.
5) Connect With Bloggers And Influencers
Historically, friends, family, and colleagues have been some of the most trusted sources for product recommendations. In fact, according to a recent survey, 77% of millennials have been influenced by their peers’ recommendations when making a purchase in the last year. That number grows exponentially when you consider the reach and depth of social media. Now there’s more than just friends and families - there are bloggers and influencers too. So why not use them?
In the past year, influencer marketing has become one of the most effective strategies for acquiring new customers quickly. By establishing partnerships with influencers and bloggers, you can actually grow your product sales and increase your customer base. But again, if done authentically. An influencer or blogger already comes with their own audience that trusts them implicitly. Your product or service is presented by them (not by you, who they don’t know), and gets promoted via their insights and thoughts on your product.
Even starting small works. A local influencer with a decent number of followers is a good start. Then you can grow from there.
Make Sure You Can Put The Products Into Their Hands
As we mentioned earlier, social media is a great way to drive traffic to your website and generate authentic and organic interest in your E-Commerce products. But once they’re there, the onus is on you to offer a seamless buying experience, easy checkout, convenient shipping options, and a trusted method of fulfillment. This is where LOCAD comes in. We can’t help you with your social media, but we can help with delivering the products to your customers efficiently.
What we, at LOCAD, offer is a flexible supply chain as a service platform for multi-channel fulfillment, on-demand warehousing, and distribution. Our product is a holistic and simple technology platform to manage the backend infrastructure of your E-Commerce store to help you manage your inventory, and help you stock, store, and ship your products.
We’ve got years of experience, working with shop platforms and E-Commerce entrepreneurs and our dynamic and scalable technology solutions put your product into the hands of your customers as easily and as quickly as possible.
Our solution offers access to a globally distributed fulfillment network to help you localize your fulfillment strategy via a customized supply chain design. As you scale up, we can help you broaden your reach with a hyperlocal distribution warehousing network that shortens the last mile between you and your customer. We also offer:
- Efficient integration With your Sales Channels (website, marketplaces, shop platforms).
- Demand/Supply Planning.
- Back Office Workflow Automation.
- Order, Inventory & Sales Analytics to track inventory days on hand, flag non-moving stock, and measure your KPIs.
- A custom dashboard that gives you full visibility into our smart supply chain network, in real-time.
- Flexible terms and variable fulfillment pricing with no lock-in commitments.
- Contracted rates with many courier companies, leading to significant savings.
With LOCAD’s network, you can further cut down shipping costs when selling internationally if you opt for localized fulfillment. Opting for in-country fulfillment of your best-selling items can lead to a significant reduction in shipping cost and lead time.
Contact us to learn more about how we can help facilitate your growth by delivering your quality products to your followers and fans.